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UCLA Department of Psychology

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This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UCLA Department of Psychology researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of A pragmatic feasibility trial of the Primary Care Intervention for PTSD: A health service delivery model to reduce health disparities for low-income and BIPOC youth.

A pragmatic feasibility trial of the Primary Care Intervention for PTSD: A health service delivery model to reduce health disparities for low-income and BIPOC youth.



This study is a non-randomized pragmatic trial to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the Primary Care Intervention for Posttraumatic stress disorder (PCIP) (Srivastava et al., 2021), an Integrated Behavioral Health Care treatment for PTSD in adolescents.


Following routine clinic procedures, youth who were suspected of having trauma-related mental health symptoms were referred by their primary care providers to integrated care social workers for evaluation. The integrated care social workers referred the first 23 youth whom they suspected of having PTSD to the research study. Twenty youth consented to the study and 19 completed the pre-assessment (17 female; mean age = 19.32, SD = 2.11; range 14-22 years). More than 40% identified as Black and a third as Hispanic/Latinx. PCIP mechanisms and clinical outcomes were assessed pre- and post-treatment, and at one-month follow-up. Participants and therapists completed post-treatment qualitative interviews to assess feasibility and acceptability, and treatment sessions were audio recorded to assess fidelity.


Findings suggest high acceptability, satisfaction, and feasibility of the PCIP delivered in "real-life" safety net pediatric primary care. Integrated care social workers had high treatment fidelity. Despite the small sample size, there was significant improvement in symptom scores of anxiety (g = 0.68, p = 0.02) and substance use (g = 0.36, p = 0.04) from pre to post, and depression symptoms (g = 0.38, p = 0.04) from pre to follow-up. Qualitative data from patients who completed exit interviews and integrated social workers indicated high satisfaction with the treatment, with some participants reporting that the integrated intervention was more acceptable and less stigmatizing than seeking mental health care outside of primary care.


The PCIP may improve treatment engagement and access for vulnerable youth. Promising findings of high acceptability, feasibility, and initial clinical effectiveness suggest that PCIP warrants larger-scale study as part of routine care in pediatric integrated care.

Stressful life events and accelerated biological aging over time in youths.


Experiencing adversity in childhood and adolescence, including stressful life events (SLEs), may accelerate the pace of development, leading to adverse mental and physical health. However, most research on adverse early experiences and biological aging (BA) in youths relies on cross-sectional designs. In 171 youths followed for approximately 2 years, we examined if SLEs over follow-up predicted rate of change in two BA metrics: epigenetic age and Tanner stage. We also investigated if rate of change in BA was associated with changes in depressive symptoms over time. Youths aged 8-16 years at baseline self-reported Tanner stage and depressive symptoms at baseline and follow-up and provided saliva samples for DNA at both assessments. Horvath epigenetic age estimates were derived from DNA methylation data measured with the Illumina EPIC array. At follow-up, contextual threat interviews were administered to youths and caregivers to assess youths' experiences of past-year SLEs. Interviews were objectively coded by an independent rating team to generate a SLE impact score, reflecting the severity of all SLEs occurring over the prior year. Rate of change in BA metrics was operationalized as change in epigenetic age or Tanner stage as a function of time between assessments. Higher objective SLE impact scores over follow-up were related to a greater rate of change in epigenetic age (β = 0.21, p = .043). Additionally, among youths with lower-but not higher-Tanner stage at baseline, there was a positive association of SLE impact scores with rate of change in Tanner stage (Baseline Tanner Stage × SLE Impact Score interaction: β = - 0.21, p = .011). A greater rate of change in epigenetic age was also associated with higher depressive symptom levels at follow-up, adjusting for baseline symptoms (β = 0.15, p = .043). Associations with epigenetic age were similar, although slightly attenuated, when adjusting for epithelial (buccal) cell proportions. Whereas much research in youths has focused on severe experiences of early adversity, we demonstrate that more commonly experienced SLEs during adolescence may also contribute to accelerated BA. Further research is needed to understand the long-term consequences of changes in BA metrics for health.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP
Cover page of Peer correlates of conduct problems in girls.

Peer correlates of conduct problems in girls.


Conduct problems are increasingly prevalent in girls and they uniquely predict negative outcomes. Yet, few reliable risk factors for aggression and violence in girls and women have been identified. Although preliminary evidence suggests peer relationships may be central to the development of youth conduct problems, especially in girls, rigorous interactive models of peer risk and protective factors for conduct problems are lacking. Based on 3104 10-13-year-old girls in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development study, we tested the independent associations of separate peer risk factors (i.e., relational aggression victimization, physical aggression victimization, and deviant peer affiliation) with multidimensional conduct problems, including their moderation by peer support. Being the victim of relational aggression, being the victim of physical aggression, and deviant peer affiliation were each positively associated with conduct problems and perpetration of aggression whereas peer support was negatively associated with youth report conduct problems and perpetration of physical aggression. Further, elevated peer support significantly attenuated the association of being the victim of relational aggression with teacher-rated conduct problems. These results highlight the sensitivity of conduct problems to peer risk factors and suggest that peer support designates important configurations of risk that differentially relate to conduct problems in girls.

Editorial: Youth Psychotherapy Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and Throughout the World: Beyond Efficacy, Toward Accessibility.


It is estimated that 13% of the world's children and adolescents have a mental health disorder.1 Fortunately, psychotherapy interventions are effective at improving mental health symptoms and associated functional difficulties.2 However, while the research literature on the efficacy of youth psychotherapy is robust, it may not be generalizable to all populations and across all contexts, particularly given the limited diversity of the research samples with which they have been tested.

Cover page of Relational and lexical similarity in analogical reasoning and recognition memory: Behavioral evidence and computational evaluation.

Relational and lexical similarity in analogical reasoning and recognition memory: Behavioral evidence and computational evaluation.


We examined the role of different types of similarity in both analogical reasoning and recognition memory. On recognition tasks, people more often falsely report having seen a recombined word pair (e.g., flower: garden) if it instantiates the same semantic relation (e.g., is a part of) as a studied word pair (e.g., house: town). This phenomenon, termed relational luring, has been interpreted as evidence that explicit relation representations-known to play a central role in analogical reasoning-also impact episodic memory. We replicate and extend previous studies, showing that relation-based false alarms in recognition memory occur after participants encode word pairs either by making relatedness judgments about individual words presented sequentially, or by evaluating analogies between pairs of word pairs. To test alternative explanations of relational luring, we implemented an established model of recognition memory, the Generalized Context Model (GCM). Within this basic framework, we compared representations of word pairs based on similarities derived either from explicit relations or from lexical semantics (i.e., individual word meanings). In two experiments on recognition memory, best-fitting values of GCM parameters enabled both similarity models (even the model based solely on lexical semantics) to predict relational luring with comparable accuracy. However, the model based on explicit relations proved more robust to parameter variations than that based on lexical similarity. We found this same pattern of modeling results when applying GCM to an independent set of data reported by Popov, Hristova, and Anders (2017). In accord with previous work, we also found that explicit relation representations are necessary for modeling analogical reasoning. Our findings support the possibility that explicit relations, which are central to analogical reasoning, also play an important role in episodic memory.

Cover page of What is the Optimal Way to Give Thanks? Comparing the Effects of Gratitude Expressed Privately, One-to-One via Text, or Publicly on Social Media.

What is the Optimal Way to Give Thanks? Comparing the Effects of Gratitude Expressed Privately, One-to-One via Text, or Publicly on Social Media.


Numerous investigations to date have established the benefits of expressing gratitude for improved psychological well-being and interpersonal relationships. Nevertheless, the social dynamics of gratitude remain understudied. Do the effects of gratitude differ when it is expressed privately, communicated directly to the benefactor one-to-one, or shared publicly? We tested this question in a preregistered intervention study. An ethnically and economically diverse sample of undergraduate students (N = 916) was randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: (1) write gratitude letters and do not share them (private gratitude), (2) share gratitude one-to-one with benefactors via text (1-to-1 gratitude), (3) share gratitude publicly on social media (public gratitude), or (4) track daily activities (control). Participants were asked to complete their assigned activity four times with different people (as applicable) over the course of about a week. Overall, participants assigned to any digital gratitude intervention experienced improvements in state gratitude, positive emotions, negative emotions, elevation, connectedness, support, and loneliness, relative to controls. Relative to all other conditions, participants assigned to text their benefactors showed the biggest boosts in social connectedness and support. Our findings show that easily scalable digital gratitude interventions can advance the well-being of young college students.

Supplementary information

The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s42761-022-00150-5.

Longitudinal Stability of Disordered-Eating Symptoms From Age 12 to 40 in Black and White Women


The purpose of the current study was to test the longitudinal association between disordered-eating symptoms (body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and bulimia) in adolescence (ages 12, 14, 16, 18, 19) and adulthood (age 40) in a sample of 883 white and Black women. We also investigated moderation by race. Adolescent symptoms at each time point significantly predicted adulthood symptoms for the Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness subscales for both Black and white women. Bulimia symptoms in adolescence predicted symptoms in adulthood; however, the effect was largely driven by white women. Although moderation was nonsignificant, among white women, bulimia symptoms at all adolescent time points predicted adulthood bulimia, but among Black women, only symptoms at ages 18 and 19 were predictive of adulthood bulimia. Results suggest that both Black and white women are susceptible to disordered eating and that symptoms emerging in adolescence can potentially follow women into midlife.

Cover page of Methylphenidate, Guanfacine, and Combined Treatment Effects on Electroencephalography Correlates of Spatial Working Memory in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Methylphenidate, Guanfacine, and Combined Treatment Effects on Electroencephalography Correlates of Spatial Working Memory in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.



The combination of d-methylphenidate and guanfacine (an α-2A adrenergic agonist) may be an effective alternative to either agent as monotherapy in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study investigated the neural mechanisms underlying medication effects using cortical source analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) data.


A total of 172 children with ADHD (aged 7-14; 118 boys) completed an 8-week randomized, double-blind, comparative study with 3 treatment arms: d-methylphenidate, guanfacine, or their combination. EEG modulations of brain oscillations at baseline and end point were measured during a spatial working memory task from cortical sources localized within the anterior cingulate (midfrontal) and primary visual cortex (midoccipital), based on previously reported ADHD and control differences. Linear mixed models examined treatment effects on EEG and performance measures.


Combined treatment decreased midoccipital EEG power across most frequency bands and task phases. Several midoccipital EEG measures also showed significantly greater changes with combined treatment than with monotherapies. D-methylphenidate significantly increased midoccipital theta during retrieval, while guanfacine produced only trend-level reductions in midoccipital alpha during maintenance and retrieval. Task accuracy improved with combined treatment, was unchanged with d-methylphenidate, and worsened with guanfacine. Treatment-related changes in midoccipital power correlated with improvement in ADHD severity.


These findings show that combined treatment ameliorates midoccipital neural activity associated with treatment-related behavioral improvements and previously implicated in visuo-attentional deficits in ADHD. Both monotherapies had limited effects on EEG measures, with guanfacine further showing detrimental effects on performance. The identified midoccipital EEG profile may aid future treatment monitoring for children with ADHD.

Clinical trial registration information

Single Versus Combination Medication Treatment for Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Project1);; NCT00429273.

Diversity & inclusion statement

We worked to ensure race, ethnic, and/or other types of diversity in the recruitment of human participants. We worked to ensure sex and gender balance in the recruitment of human participants. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as a member of one or more historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science. While citing references scientifically relevant for this work, we also actively worked to promote sex and gender balance in our reference list. We actively worked to promote inclusion of historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science in our author group. We actively worked to promote sex and gender balance in our author group.